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Friday, August 27, 2010

Google’s iPhone App Adds Calendar Alerts, Useless Gmail Feature

Apple and Google haven’t been BFFs lately, but the search giant still seems to care about iPhone users. Kind of, sort of. Google this week released an update for its Google Mobile app for iPhone, which introduces push notifications for Google’s calendar and a barely functional push feature for Google mail.

For iPhone users subscribed to Google calendars, the Google Mobile app can now push out an event alert in a box that appears on the home screen, just like you’d receive an SMS message. That’s useful.

But for Google mail, the new push feature is somewhat less useful. The updated app doesn’t push out a box to let you know of a new e-mail. Instead, it just updates the icon of the Google Mobile app, adding a little red bubble that shows the number of e-mails in your inbox. This “notification” doesn’t cause the iPhone to vibrate or make a sound. The result is that the Gmail notifier is essentially useless, since you can already configure Gmail to “push” into Apple’s built-in Mail app with sounds and vibrations — the whole shebang — to actually notify you.

Frankly, we’re disappointed that the push feature for Google mail isn’t more functional. Adding the ability to push e-mails in the form of an alert box, just like Google did with calendar, would’ve been far more interesting.

If that’s what you’re looking to get from Google mail, you can download the third-party iPhone app GPush, which we covered last year.